18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
This passage has always fascinated me. Jesus calls and they respond by leaving everything and following him. I’ve wondered what the scene must have been like…how did those close to them respond? Did they have any idea what they were getting themselves into? What was it that caused them to be willing to give up so much to follow Jesus?
This past year, I’ve done some chronological study of the life of Christ which really helped me to understand this passage in a new light. I’ve always had the impression that there had to be more going on here than what Matthew tells us. This is the first time Matthew mentions Jesus interacting with these men, so if we just read Matthew, we miss something huge. Jesus has known these men and has likely spent significant amounts of time with them for 1-2 years before he makes this invite in Matthew 4. It’s not a cold contact. There’s an established relationship here. They’ve known Jesus as teacher and friend for quite sometime.
Why is this significant? It shows us how relational our God is. Jesus, could have accomplished his mission alone. He certainly was capable, yet he chose to have companions. We see it in the very nature of God. We worship a Triune God – 1 God, existing in 3 persons. Relationships are at the core of who God is. We were created for a relationship with God and with each other. I hope you’ll consider how you can more fully invest yourself in those relationships in 2012.